Este artículo: en español
We have an obligation to be evangelizing Catholics. So says Sister Antonio Heaphy, Director of the Office of Evangelization of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Writing in the newspaper of the Archdiocese (Oct. 25, 2002), she defines evangelization: It is to grow in our own faith. Well, perhaps. It is to work with all people of good will to transform society with the values of Jesus Christ. Well, maybe. And it is to share our faith with others. Yes, thats the essence of it.
As for sharing our faith, Sister asks, Does this involve preaching, moralizing, or putting guilt trips on people because they have not been inside a church for a long time? Her answer is No. Oh, what a relief! To share our faith we wont actually have to say anything controversial, wont have to mention sin and salvation.
Of course, when it comes to transforming society, we can hardly do that without preaching, moralizing, or putting guilt trips on people. But when it comes to sharing our faith, we need not do that, probably because it just isnt all that important.
So, then, how are we to share our faith? Sister answers: It means taking a gentle approach in inviting a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker or a relative who no longer practices the faith, to join you at a religious or parish celebration. Perhaps your parish is planning a special celebration for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or perhaps your family is planning to celebrate a baptism, a wedding anniversary or a special family celebration that involves a ceremony in church . This could be what we might call an evangelizing moment in the life of this person, a special moment when you are helping someone to get in touch with the faith that has apparently been abandoned. We invite him/her back to share a faith moment with us.
First, you notice that we only invite those who no longer practice the faith presumably that means the Catholic faith. So if youre a Protestant, and certainly if youre a Hindu or a Wiccan or an agnostic or an atheist, we dont care about you. Secondly, this type of evangelization is done by inviting people to ceremonies. Theres nothing wrong with that, but how effective is it? We see relatives and friends attend the Baptism of a church-going couples baby. The next Sunday, those relatives and friends are nowhere to be seen, for the Baptism was not a faith moment, it was treated as a rite of passage. Yes, we see Catholics fill our churches on Christmas and Easter, but the next Sunday the church is back to being half full. Obviously, many Catholics only need a faith moment twice a year.
You have two options:
- Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
- Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.
If you're already a subscriber log-in here.